Thursday, August 14, 2014

2014 Books Part XI

Take a Seat: One Man, One Tandem and Twenty Thousand Miles of Possibilities by Dominic Gill - I had to buy this the instant I read its gimmick: guy pedals a tandem bike from Alaska to Argentina and invites strangers to hop on the stoker seat. Gill takes his time with many extended layovers, collecting some great stories along the way. I could never tour that way, though. I don't have the temperament for dealing with so many strangers in unfamiliar cultures and rolling with whatever happens. So one disappointment with this book is that it failed to reawaken the bicycle tourist in me. My other disappointment is what Gill left out. I understand that a book about a long trip cannot tell everything, but he should have written more about the people who rode with him since that is what sets Take a Seat apart from other bicycle touring stories. 4 stars

Bike Snob: Systematically & Mercilessly Realigning the World of Cycling by BikeSnobNYC - Never having read the BikeSnobNYC blog, I was shocked by how different this book is from what I expected. I thought the author would be judgmental and full of attitude but actually he's pretty reasonable. Sure he makes fun of hipsters, but hell, they deserve it. I bought this at Borders several years ago mostly because I'll buy any bike book if it's cheap enough. If I had known how much I would enjoy it, I wouldn't have waited so long to read it. 5 stars

I, Goldstein: My Screwed Life by Al Goldstein & Josh Alan Friedman - This memoir from one of America's most (in)famous pornographers is hilarious, disgusting, and entertaining. It's also pretty sad. The publisher of Screw magazine wrote this after his world collapsed—he blew millions of dollars and stayed in homeless shelters before Penn Jillette gave him an apartment. He tells some great stories here, but sometimes it's a little hard to follow. 3 stars

Strange Days: The Adventures of a Grumpy Rock 'n' Roll Journalist in Los Angeles by Dean Goodman - I had never heard of Goodman, probably because he wrote for Reuters. The material is largely from the 1990s, but most of the artists he covers were past their commercial prime by then (that's just an observation, not a complaint). Strange Days is pretty good as far as the rock interview genre goes. 4 stars


     

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